Are you looking for ways to improve your Residential Assisted Living home? What if you could keep your RAL full of residents longer?
How about starting with nutrition?
There are many unique challenges that come with operating a Residential Assisted Living home, but one of the vital elements that can easily be overlooked is the nutrition we offer our residents. So many of us take food for granted. It is part of everyday life and we are all so busy that we don’t always give it the thought it deserves. Not only does nutrition provide the important fuel that we all need to enjoy healthy and balanced lives, it also equips our bodies to fight infection and stave off disease.
Seniors in our care face especially significant challenges as older bodies tend to have a more difficult time absorbing as many nutrients from food as younger bodies do. There are also other challenges facing seniors ranging from difficulty chewing to problems with digesting to special dietary needs of changing metabolism or medications. Later on in this article we will discuss strategies and solutions for helping RAL owners support their seniors in getting the nutrients they need to live healthier lives, but for now let’s dive into the issues that are creating these challenges in the first place.
Our society has long faced problems associated with diet. Unfortunately, even issues as simple as eating too much or eating too little are greatly expounded when you involve the elderly. Generally, after decades of living busy lifestyles, many Americans have developed fairly poor eating habits that easily extend into old age if they are not addressed.
For the most part, all of us reap what we have sowed throughout our lifetime. The decisions around nutrition and exercise that end up forming practices and habits play a significant role in our longevity in the physical and mental capabilities in our twilight years. Of course there are external factors that can have a huge effect as well, but generally a lifelong series of choices about what we put in our bodies will result in particular consequences. In short, the environment that we have established during the first 40–50 years sets the stage for how we will experience the aging process. Unfortunately, far too many of us become aware of time’s eventual effects on our mind and body sometime around middle age, when we start to see the actual effects of aging.
There are four main health concerns that loom large around the elderly: heart, mind, bones and the various forms of cancer. While some of these issues work in conjunction with our genetic makeup, there is mounting scientific evidence that supports the conclusion that adopting healthy nutritional and exercise habits can greatly improve the odds for a healthier period of aging.  And it only makes sense that these key factors would greatly affect the aging process. The human body is an amazing thing, but it isn’t magic, what you put into it will affect what you get out of it. Thankfully, we are learning more about how vital nutrients can have a profound effect on overall health and longevity.
Although the overall caloric intake of seniors is less than other adults, the surprising thing is that the nutrient requirements do not change all that significantly with age, and they are only marginally different between men and women. The nutrients chart below is the Dietary Reference Intake for older adults established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences and details how all of the important dietary nutrients play a role in the four most significant health concerns for seniors, i.e. heart, mind, bones and cancer.
With smaller food portions and lower caloric levels consumed by seniors, the goal to hit the daily recommended intake of essential nutrients can become a bigger challenge.
Studies have shown that the dietary intake of a sizable percentage of older adults is significantly below the Recommended Daily Allowance. On average, seniors are at a major risk for consuming less than two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance.
Recommended Daily Intake of Essential Nutrients for Individuals Aged 70+
- Vitamin or Mineral
- Vitamin B6 (mg)
- Vitamin B12 (mcg)
- Vitamin C (mg)
- Calcium (mg)
- Vitamin D (mcg)
- Vitamin E (mg)
- Folate (mcg)
- Magnesium (mg)
- Niacin (mg)
- Riboflavin (mg)
- Thiamine (mg)
- Lowers total homocysteine; nerve function; Alzheimer’s; may help prevent vascular and heart disease
- Cell growth and division; red blood cell formation; nerve function; may help prevent heart disease
- Antioxidant: protects against cancer, cognitive impairment, decreased function; wound healing
- Bones and teeth; muscle contraction; nerve function; normal blood clotting; may lower blood pressure
- Aids calcium absorption; bone mineral fracture risk; muscle strength
- Coronary heart disease; nervous system disorders; Alzheimer’s; Parkinson’s; macular degeneration
- Red blood cell formation; cell growth and division; may help prevent heart disease
- Muscle contraction; nerve function; may lower blood pressure; energy utilization
- Cell respiration; carb, fat and protein metabolism; circulation; nervous system; normal secretion of bile and stomach fluids
- Activates B6; carbohydrate, amino acid and fatty metabolism
- Enhances circulation; carbohydrate metabolism; blood formation; nerve function
Food Insecurity & Elderly Malnutrition
Because reduced caloric intake plays such a large role in the nutrient deficiency of seniors it is important to address the overall issue of food insecurity and how it relates to elderly malnutrition. Even in the midst of a rapidly transforming global landscape the U.S. economy continues to be the largest in the world, so it should make sense that no senior citizen in America should have to go hungry. Unfortunately, that sentiment doesn’t match reality, and hunger among our elderly population is a growing crisis. In recent years, hunger rates in the United States have more than doubled. The fact is that food insecurity among the elderly decreases resistance to infection, increases disability, exacerbates chronic health conditions and extends hospital stays. Many seniors in America are who are struggling to live on meager budgets often face the choice of skipping meals in order to have the means to purchase medication. It is important to understand the moral and financial implications of this issue so that we can provide solutions to ensure that all of our seniors have access to adequate nutrition.
This is potentially where the residential assisted living industry can step in. Owners and operators of residential assisted living homes have the opportunity to meet this growing crisis head on. We need to be at the forefront of the solutions on this issue. And throughout the rest of this article we will discuss some of the many strategies we can implement that give our elderly population the health and dignity that they deserve.
Why It Matters
As the next few decades unfold we are going to see just how much of an impact elderly nutrition and health has on society as a whole. The obvious immediate impact will be visible in the health of seniors, their longevity and the prevalence of chronic diseases influencing their quality of life. But there are other causal impacts that will end up leaving far-reaching consequences, the extent to which we are only able to predict now.
Estimates from the Center for American Progress show that senior hunger will increase the costs associated with illness each year in the United States by $130.5 billion. In 2012, over five million Americans beyond the age of 60 were food insecure, which constitutes 9 percent of all seniors.
Seniors require more consideration towards their health and medical needs, which can become compromised when there is food insecurity. Studies examining the health and nutritional status of seniors reported that food insecure seniors had significantly lower intakes of vital nutrients in their diets when compared to their food secure counterparts. Additionally, food insecure seniors are 2 to 3 times more likely to report poor health and have higher nutritional risk.
Seniors who are food insecure, on average, consume far fewer nutrients and calories compared to food secure seniors. And it is not the quantity of food that is the only issue, the quality of nutrients consumed bears an even greater effect on the health of the elderly. In an assessment of seniors and their intake of various nutrients, food insecure seniors not only consumed less calories, but much lower quantities of all 10 key nutrients than their food secure counterparts. For example, food insecure seniors had intake levels of protein that were 12 percent lower and levels of iron that were 14 percent lower than that of food secure seniors. Many of these nutrients, including protein and iron, have been well documented to be particularly important to the health of the senior population. The differences in nutrient intake between food insecure and food secure seniors persist when taking into account other known risk factors for poor health, such as income, race, and age. That is to say that, food insecurity still has a negative association with nutrient intake for all nutrients, except Vitamin A and calcium, when filtering all other known risk factors.
Food Insecurity & ADL’s
In addition to these serious conditions, food insecure seniors are 22 percent more likely to experience physical limitations that impede their Activities of Daily Living. ADLs are the fundamental activities involved with taking care of one’s self and are usually learned in early childhood; activities such as eating, walking, getting dressed, going to the bathroom and bathing. These are typically tasks that most elderly individuals can perform independently. However, when faced with food insecurity the development and exacerbation of serious chronic diseases can severely limit an individual’s ability to perform these tasks independently.
These effects can become cyclical and compound the nature of such limiting chronic conditions. A senior faces food insecurity, due to economic or other reasons, and therefore consumes less vital nutrients. This leads to the deterioration of health through chronic disease and results in limited mobility, which puts the senior at risk for even greater food insecurity, and the cycle continues.
Many of us often take food for granted, but it is worth remembering that good nutrition is the first line of defense that our bodies have to fight infection and disease. In this fact is made all the more important when it involves aging bodies which have a more difficult time absorbing and processing those nutrients.
Because there is such a close link tween food insecurity and disease, it is of vital importance for people who work with seniors to be vigilant in the observation and assessment the dietary needs and eating habits of those in their care. In a busy residential assisted living home can be easy for caregivers to miss the small signs that a resident isn’t getting their proper nutrition. In a well-run assisted living home, it might be easier to notice if a resident has skipped or is regularly skipping meals, as seniors will often eat together at regularly scheduled times. However, recognizing when a resident isn’t consuming their full meals and is shortchanging themselves of vital nutrients, might not be as easy to keep track of.
This is just another reason why it is imperative to hire and train caregiving staff who are competent and who have a great attention to detail and genuine concern for the residents. Big-box assisted living facilities across the nation regularly have issues with caregivers simply not caring. It seems far too regular an occurrence when we hear about the staff of a large assisted living facility abusing their position, taking advantage of residents or simply ignoring the warning signs that a senior’s health is in jeopardy.
We tend to believe that most people who get involved with the business of residential assisted living are doing it for the right reasons, because they want to help people. But even if that wasn’t always the primary motivation, ensuring the health, longevity and quality of life of the seniors in your care helps keep residents in your home longer, which can only be good for your business. The bottom line…healthier residents leads to a healthier business. Thankfully, we realize that if you’re reading this you probably care a great deal about the health of our seniors, and it is just a bonus when our RAL businesses benefit from the improved health of the residents in our care.
Food Insecurity & Disease
Among the elderly population, food insecurity is closely associated with an increased risk of developing specific chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure.
Food insecure seniors are at a significantly increased risk for chronic health conditions, even when filtering out for other contributing factors like income. Statistics show that food insecure seniors are 60 percent more likely to experience depression, 53 percent more likely to report a heart attack, 52 percent more likely to develop asthma and 40 percent more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure.
A proper diet and a healthy life go hand in hand, and this is especially true for elderly adults. Medical research from the World Health Organization has led to the conclusion that a majority of the diseases that older people suffer are as a result of lack of proper diet.
Many of the diseases suffered by elderly people are the result of dietary factors, some of which could have been dietary habits that were practiced since infancy. These factors are then compounded by environmental factors and changes that naturally occur in the aging process.
One of the main nutritional concerns that occupies a sizable amount of attention from the medical community is the overconsumption of dietary fat, which seems to be associated with numerous diseases and chronic conditions including cancer of the colon, pancreas and prostate. Atherogenic risk factors, such as increased blood pressure, glucose intolerance and blood lipids are all significantly affected by dietary factors and play a significant role in the development of coronary heart disease.
Degenerative diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease are among the most common diseases affecting older persons and all are heavily affected by diet. There is increasing evidence in the study of the diet/disease relationship, that micronutrients play a significant role in promoting health and preventing incommunicable disease. Micronutrient deficiencies are incredibly common in elderly people due to a number of factors, such as their reduced food intake and a lack of variety in the foods they eat.
Another factor that leads to micronutrient deficiencies in elderly is simply the price of foods rich in micronutrients, which further discourages their consumption. Individuals who have spent a lifetime developing certain dietary habits are often more hesitant to change up their routines in light of medical evidence that suggests it would benefit their health, especially if it comes at a greater financial cost. The irony is that our bad dietary habits have a direct correlation to our eventual medical expenses. While we might fail to justify spending more money at the grocery store buying natural, healthier foods, we will end up paying even more for those decisions with our health and with our pockets, treating disease and chronic conditions that might have been avoided, or at least delayed, by spending a lifetime making healthy dietary choices.
Compounding the issue of micronutrient deficiencies is the fact that the older people often suffer from decreased immune function, which contributes to this group’s increased morbidity and mortality. Other significant age-related changes including the loss of cognitive function and deteriorating vision, are contributing factors that hinder wellness and healthy dietary habits in old age.
Elevated serum cholesterol, a risk factor for coronary heart disease in both men and women, is common in older people and this relationship persists into very old age. As with younger people, drug therapy should be considered only after serious attempts have been made to modify diet. Medical intervention trials have shown that the reduction of blood pressure by 6 mm Hg reduces the risk of stroke by 40% and of heart attack by 15%, and that a 10% reduction in blood cholesterol concentration will reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.
There is evidence to suggest that dietary changes directly affect risk-factor levels throughout life and that these changes may have an even greater impact in older people. In fact, relatively modest reductions in saturated fat and salt intake, which would reduce blood pressure and cholesterol concentrations, could have a substantial effect on reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease. Increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables by one to two servings daily could cut cardiovascular risk by as much as 30%.
Not only does food insecurity affect senior nutrition, disease and activities of daily living, but it also has a significant economic impact as well. It often costs more money to spend one day in the hospital or six days in a nursing home recovering from health complications than it does for senior to spend an entire month in the supporting environment of residential assisted living. With a robust network of residential assisted living homes filled with qualified and caring staff we could curb the incidences of acute health complications among the elderly. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Quality care provided by a national grid of tens of thousands of superior residential assisted living homes could eventually save billions of dollars in unnecessary Medicaid and Medicare expenses every year, tax dollars that could be spent in other ways.
While we enjoy the benefits of an overall increase in lifespan in this country, maintaining health throughout the aging process comes with its own challenges. Proper nutrition for an aging population is not just an issue for elderly Americans but is a growing global challenge that will need to be addressed. The number of elderly persons aged 60 and over is growing both the number and in proportion of the entire population in virtually all countries this trend is likely to continue for decades to come.
Rapidly Increasing Growth of the Elderly Population
The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, worked with the U.S. Census Bureau to commission “An Aging World: 2015,” a report that sheds light on the details of this global aging phenomenon. This report examines the demographic, socioeconomic and health trends accompanying the current boom of the aging population.
Overall, the general population of the world’s citizens is growing dramatically, however, the elderly section of this population growth is increasing at an unprecedented rate. In 2015, 617 million people were aged 65 and over, making up 8.5 percent of the total worldwide population and according to a new report, this percentage is projected to jump to nearly 1.6 billion, making up 17 percent of the world’s population by 2050.
“Older people are a rapidly growing proportion of the world’s population,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “People are living longer, but that does not necessarily mean that they are living healthier. The increase in our aging population presents many opportunities and also several public health challenges that we need to prepare for. NIA has partnered with Census to provide the best possible data so that we can better understand the course and implications of population aging.” 
“An Aging World: 2015” contains detailed information about life expectancy, gender balance, general health, disability, mortality, health care systems, labor force participation, retirement, pensions and poverty among older people around the world.
“We are seeing population aging in every country in every part of the world,” said John Haaga, Ph.D., who is the acting director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research. “Many countries in Europe and Asia are further along in the process, or moving more rapidly, than we are in the United States. Since population aging affects so many aspects of public life — acute and long-term health care needs; pensions, work and retirement; transportation; housing — there is a lot of potential for learning from each other’s experience.” 
Highlights of the report include:
- America’s 65-and-over population is projected to nearly double over the next three decades, from 48 million to 88 million by 2050.
- By 2050, global life expectancy at birth is projected to increase by almost eight years, climbing from 68.6 years in 2015 to 76.2 years in 2050.
- The global population of the “oldest old” — people aged 80 and older — is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million. The oldest old population in some Asian and Latin American countries is predicted to quadruple by 2050.
- Risk factors for disease — such as tobacco and alcohol use, insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruit, and low levels of physical activity — directly or indirectly contribute to the global burden of disease. Changes in risk factors have been observed, such as a decline in tobacco use in some high-income countries, with the majority of smokers worldwide now living in low- and middle-income countries.
Our Bodies Change with Age
The evidence is clear; our bodies change as we age, and seniors have slightly different nutritional needs compared to those of children, teenagers, and even middle-aged adults. These age related changes affect how the body processes food, which influences a person’s dietary needs and can greatly affect their appetite, mood and longevity. Micronutrient deficiency among the elderly can be due to many more factors then simply reduced food consumption and a lack of variety in their diet.
Some of the more noticeable changes that hinder proper nutrition are:
Slowing Metabolism. This happens naturally, but it becomes more pronounced if seniors don’t get as much exercise as they should. When metabolism slows, the body doesn’t burn as many calories, which means a person needs to eat less to stay at a healthy weight. As a result, the foods eaten should be as nutrient-rich as possible. Most senior women with average activity levels need about 1,600 calories per day, while senior men with an average activity level need about 2,000 calories each day. Fewer calories are needed if the person is relatively sedentary, more if they are very active.Change in Digestive System. Later in life, the body produces less of the fluids that it needs to process food in the digestive system. These changes can make it harder for the body to absorb important nutrients like folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.
Change in Appetite. Many seniors take one or more medications for health conditions; these can cause side effects such as a lack of appetite or upset stomach, which can lead to poor nutrition.
Change in Digestive System. Later in life, the body produces less of the fluids that it needs to process food in the digestive system. These changes can make it harder for the body to absorb important nutrients like folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12.
Change in Appetite. Many seniors take one or more medications for health conditions; these can cause side effects such as a lack of appetite or upset stomach, which can lead to poor nutrition.Physical Difficulty. Seniors become weaker with age, especially when dealing with conditions like arthritis and disability. Pain and poor physical strength can make simple tasks appear to be challenging. Performing basic functions like standing for long while cooking, carrying groceries, or even peeling a fruit may become daunting tasks.
Decreased Sensitivity. As an individual advances in age, your senses become numbed down; it takes more energy and time to trigger a stimulus. The sense of smell and taste decreases reducing appetite. In some cases, the person may even have trouble differentiating fresh food from stale since their senses are compromised. There is no doubt that this would be detrimental to overall health.
Medication Side Effects. Some medications can cause nausea, reduced appetite, and change the perception of different food tastes. In this case, the side effects can discourage a person from eating, and then they end up skipping meals.
Poor Dental Health. Dental issues are more likely to come up as we grow older, problems like missing teeth, receding gums that cause the teeth to be shaky, mouth sores, and jaw pain. All of these factors can make chewing painful and uncomfortable, thereby reducing the likelihood of seniors consuming the proper amount of healthy foods.
Lack of Finances. Older people can also develop situations where they have limited resources and worry more about money. In order to cope they might cut back on groceries and buy cheaper food, which, in most cases, is less nutritious. This lifestyle can result in many nutritional deficiencies.
Lack of Transportation. To shop for fresh ingredients, a person often needs to drive to the store, wait through traffic, and park the car a distance from the door. If it’s raining or snowing, it’s even more challenging. Chances of slipping and falling are high. These activities may discourage older people from going to shop altogether. This is one of the many areas where residential assisted living can have a profound impact on a senior’s ability to attain healthy nutritious meals, as the RAL staff are responsible for purchasing and preparing these meals.
Memory Loss. Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss are all fairly common among seniors and these conditions all pose a challenge to achieving good nutrition. While residing in an independent living environment, a senior may forget to follow their advised meal plan, skip a meal or even forget to buy food from the store, in the residential assisted living environment, many of these challenges can be met head-on by a diligent and proactive care staff.
Change in Emotional Health. Nutrition has a significant impact on the emotional health of an individual. Seniors who feel depressed or lonely can often lose interest in eating. On the other hand, emotional issues may cause others to eat more and gain weight, leading to a whole host of health problems. As you grow older, a lot of environmental changes take place, (children move away, friends and loved ones are lost due to death, feelings of loneliness, physical changes and loss of independence can all lead to significant changes in emotional health). All these issues can compound on one another leading to depression. Seniors may become apathetic about their health and avoid eating. If left untreated, depression can lead to much more significant health problems.
There are many simple ideas you can employ to help elderly residents in your care develop better eating habits and achieve positive nutritional results. Ideally, residents should see a physician in order to determine their exact caloric need, as individuals’ needs vary.
What Is Nutrient packing?
So with all these challenges, the question becomes how do we get seniors to eat better? They might profess to have no appetite, or can’t taste food and don’t care to eat it. Yet, there is evidence to suggest that the elderly do respond to certain food stimuli. As a group they tend to like sweet things. They also tend to prefer soups and easily digested puddings. They often drink beverages that can be made to reflect their tastes, and they respond favorably to seasoned, but not necessarily spicy foods, that overcome their reduced taste sensitivity.
What may be needed to stimulate tired and bored palates are unit servings of foods that are easy to consume, require minimum preparation and contain proper nutrients. Moreover, by delivering the nutrients in a food matrix, conditions are optimized for their absorption. Many people have experimented with numerous soups, prepared foods and a variety of baked products designed to meet specific nutritional targets for the elderly population. In all cases, the food matrix is large compared to the nutrient content, making it relatively easy to mask the offensive taste of some vitamins while maintaining the original taste.
For example, a 100g muffin can be made to deliver 1g calcium, 10-12g protein, and a number of critical micronutrients, in particular vitamins C and E and all the B vitamins. The same can be accomplished with a serving of rice or tapioca pudding. In both examples, one needs to bury 2-3g of nutrients in a 100g food matrix, a formulating challenge that can be met.
Soups are another category of favorite elder products that can attain similar results. We have yet to meet an aged person who has not responded favorably to a good soup. James Duke, MD, with the US Department of Agriculture, stated: “An old-fashioned vegetable soup, without any enhancement, is a more powerful anti-carcinogen than any known medicine.” A highly flavored Tuscan bean soup can be made to incorporate all the desired nutrients in a satisfying vehicle.
When food is used to deliver nutrients, care must be exercised during processing, as nutrients can be lost to varying degrees upon exposure to heat, light, shear forces or simple dissolution in water. The level of fortification needs to be adjusted according to the pH of the ingredient mix, or the baking or broiling process used. It is critical to have products analyzed to establish the end level of nutrient for each specific product type and then adjusted as needed.
Health conditions facing the elderly may be remedied with the creation of delicious and nutritious foods tailored to compensate for specific dietary deficiencies. These foods need to take into consideration the declining ability of the elderly to chew, digest and importantly to taste. After all, if the senior doesn’t like the food available to them they won’t need it, and it doesn’t matter how much nutrition is packed into that food, if it doesn’t get consumed it is useless.
There are many ways to address elderly nutrition in a residential assisted living home. If you have the opportunity, bring in a nutritionist that will help guide your residents toward eating a healthy and balanced diet, that would be a significant advantage for their longevity and add value to your RAL business. Or you can do some research of your own and help create nutrition plans that are more tailored to senior health.
Helpful Nutrition Ideas
Most nutrition plans involving seniors should begin with an increase in healthy calories. Many of us have become accustomed to skipping the occasional meal as we move through our busy days but as we age this deficit in nutrition can have a greater negative impact on our health. Some excellent and simple ways to boost caloric intake in seniors include:
- Smoothies & healthy milk shakes. They pack a lot of calories, and if fortified with nutritional ingredients make great meals for seniors, especially those with problems chewing and digesting their food. Smoothie Recipes
- Dehydrated milk. Try adding it to cereal or a creamy sauce to boost calories and much needed protein.
- Eggnog. It’s not just for the holidays, and it also delivers lots of calories.
As you and your team make food choices to improve the nutrition of your residents, keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Get to know H2O. Hydration is extremely important for older adults. If a senior becomes dehydrated it can lead to a whole host of issues. Sometimes people just focus on the nutrition aspect, but it is just as important to make sure your residents are well-hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is so vital for our body’s health. Help your residents stay hydrated and be sure to offer lots of water and non-caffeinated beverages as well as foods with high water content like soups, cucumbers, grapes, and melons (unless otherwise instructed by their doctor).
- Pack in the protein. So important for optimal health, protein powers our body. It provides energy, helps cognitive function, keeps the immune system functioning properly, maintains heart and respiratory health and supports our mood, boosting the body’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. When protein is consumed it is broken down into amino acids which are the basic building blocks for energy and growth in our bodies. These nutrients are vital for building, maintaining and repairing cells, tissues and organs throughout the body. Lots of foods contain protein, but there is a difference between high quality low quality protein. Processed foods like lunch meats, for example, might have a significant amount of protein, but they are loaded with salt, which causes high blood pressure and leads to other health problems. Yogurt can be a great source of protein, however, most of the flavored yogurts found in your local supermarket contain astonishingly high levels of added sugar. You might also want to skip on the processed cheese, which often contains non-dairy filler ingredients. So it is better to stick with protein rich foods don’t come with unwanted ingredients that are more harm than good. Stick with lean proteins like beans, eggs, chicken and fish, lean meats, and nuts, and keep to the unprocessed foods as much as possible. *It is also worth noting that it is feasible to meet your daily requirement protein through plan-based sources alone, such as beans, vegetables, grains and nuts. But just be aware that many of these protein sources can lack one or more of the essential amino acids that our bodies need, so it is important to consume a variety of these plant-based sources every day to ensure that the body gets all of the essential amino acids that it needs.
- Manage cholesterol and opt for healthy fats. Cholesterol is naturally produced in the body and generally doesn’t need to be supplemented by diet. But we get into trouble when we consume foods high in saturated and trans fat, which causes our bodies to produce unhealthy levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Saturated fats are naturally found in many foods, primarily dairy and meat products and the daily intake of these fats should be limited. Trans fats, on the other hand, are not natural. Also called partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats are created through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oils in order to make them more solid. These fats serve no real purpose to our bodies and, if possible, should be avoided entirely. The American Heart Association advises that individuals would benefit greatly with lower LDL cholesterol by eliminating trans fats from their diet. Most of the fats we eat should be unsaturated fat, which is broken up into two categories, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are primary found in nuts, seeds, avocados, vegetable oils and fatty fish. The healthier oils are naturally occurring unhydrogenated vegetable oils, so opt for canola, sunflower, safflower or olive oil. These foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fat and can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Consumed in moderation, both types of unsaturated fats can help improve blood cholesterol when used in place of saturated and trans fats. How do you know which type of fat you are eating? Do yourself a favor and take a moment to read the labels on your food. Another good visual indicator is that the healthy unsaturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are typically liquid at room temperature.
- Exercise a “rough” diet. Include a variety of high-fiber foods daily, such as raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains. These foods help cut down on constipation and help the body stay regular, as well as providing the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and nutrients that the body needs for healthy aging. Fiber can help maintain body weight, prevent type II diabetes, and reduce the risk of heart problems and cardiovascular disease. It is also important for seniors to increase their intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and other fiber-rich food in order to boost the healthy enzymes found in a plant-rich diet. Another option if a resident isn’t sure they are getting enough fiber is to talk to a doctor about fiber supplements.
- Choose whole grains. These nutrient and fiber rich foods will help digestion and protect the heart. Choose brown rice, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat bread instead of white bread and refined grains.
- Calcium & Vitamin D is critical. There are certain nutrients that become especially important for good health as we age. Everyone needs calcium to protect bone health, but older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health. Seniors should have three servings of calcium-rich foods and beverages each day. This includes fortified cereals and fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy products, milk and fortified plant beverages. If seniors take a calcium supplement or multivitamin, it should usually be paired with vitamin D, its partner in bone building and nutrient absorption to help provide what the body needs.
- Supplement B12. Many people older than 60 do not get enough vitamin B12. Seniors should also consume foods, like fortified cereals, lean meat and some fish and seafood, which are great sources of vitamin B12. The aging body has a decreased ability to absorb B12, so getting more through diet and supplements will ensure that seniors meet their daily requirements. It is also worth asking a doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist if a vitamin B12 supplement would be beneficial to the residence diet.
- Don’t forget potassium. Increasing potassium along with reducing sodium may lower the risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables and beans are good sources of potassium. Also, select and prepare foods with little or no added salt. There are many ways to add flavor to food with herbs and spices.
These are just a few of the many ways you can help your residents get the nutrition they need for health and longevity. Not only will you be helping your residents, but establishing a real commitment to senior health is something that is likely to spread by word of mouth in your community, setting your RAL apart from the rest as a place that genuinely cares for the health of its residents.
As you look to improve the nutrition of your seniors. Remember that it is fine to start gradually, exchanging poor foods for healthier options is a good first step. But try equip your team to make changes every week that will bring your residents closer to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Better Ingredients & Flavorful Cooking
Along with better nutrition, flavorful, healthy and satisfying food begins with fresh ingredients. It is better if the kitchen cooks from scratch and follows recipes designed to use fresh ingredients. When they do, residents eat great tasting meals that are nutritious. Sure it is easier to resort to packaged food that is nearly ready to serve, but you will be missing out on the many benefits of using fresh ingredients, such as, improved flavor, greater nutritional value, reduction in the need for additional supplements, and overall improved health and wellness.
Have you ever heard an older person complain about how food tastes? Do you know why? It’s partly in the taste buds. These change over time and affect the flavor of foods. For older adults, the same foods don’t taste the way it did years ago. As the body ages, so do the taste buds. Adults have over 6,000 taste buds, while elderly people have only 2,000 to 3,000.
This doesn’t mean that the flavor of food diminishes forever, and that they’ll never enjoy food again. On the contrary, it means that food needs more seasoning than it was previously getting. Put down the salt shaker, because there are many other things that can increase the savory nature of food. Lessen salt intake by using other ingredients such as cayenne pepper, rosemary, garlic, and more. The stronger a seasoning, the more likely seniors will be able to sense it and enjoy their food again.
The good thing about adding healthier seasoning is that many of the herbs and spices used to create savory dishes are beneficial to the body. Garlic offers anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial functions in the body. The traditional bulb of garlic is a high blood purifier and is chock full of strong taste that is so needed for seniors. Rosemary is also great for treating and preventing influenza. Cinnamon and cayenne pepper have properties that help both glucose levels and arthritis symptoms.
The body needs some salt for regular functioning, but salt is a restriction for many elderly people, and they often need to follow a sodium-free style of meals. If it is essential to add salt to a meal, do it carefully and avoid adding any salt at all to prepackaged food.
Seniors are just like any other demographic, they want food to taste good. For many residents in senior housing, food is one of the more important priorities, even over other amenities. The importance of quality food cannot be over-stated as it offers nourishment and nutrition that contribute significantly to a senior’s defense to chronic illness and declining health. But if it doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t get eaten. And if it doesn’t get eaten, then the health benefit isn’t there.
Assisted living homes and care agencies with strong nutritional programs may have a competitive advantage in this ever-expanding industry. Many people look for assisted living homes that have a cooking staff and chef willing to cater to the preferences of the residents, so if you are looking for another way to stand out from the rest of assisted living options in your area, consider hiring for this added feature. Look for a chef who specializes in organic and fresh produce and supports the health objectives of residents, wellness, and community involvement by creating memorable meals. This will only add to the value of your RAL home.
A dynamic and interactive chef can guide residents through cooking topics, preparation techniques, tips for exploring new types of cuisine, and nutritional benefits of healthier ingredients. And giving seniors a chance to participate in the process is a great way to create social engagement and improve their mental health as well.
Prospective residents and their families are looking for amenities in the home that will offer a safe living environment, one designed for mobility and accessibility while offering expert care and comfort. For example, does the home have a spacious dining room able to serve many people and foster a sense of community? They will want to know that your staff offers well-prepared, nutritious meals tailored to the changing health and needs of the residents.
Also, consider offering opportunities for the residents to become an active part of their own healthy nutrition by allowing them to help with various elements of meal preparation. Many seniors enjoy the interaction and activity of mixing ingredients and preparing food…something that most of them will undoubtedly have many years of experience doing for themselves.
To ensure residents receive the food they like, have your team get feedback from them regularly. Of course, there are some residents who won’t always want the foods that are best for them. In these cases, your team can counsel them about healthy choices, but they can’t force them to comply. You can only educate residents who want to be educated.
And remember, when establishing a plan for balanced nutrition, the team approach is always a good place to start. One of the most effective methods is to encourage a working relationship between your team or kitchen staff and the families of the residents in order to meet the residents’ needs. Communication and a shared goal of resident satisfaction keeps everyone on the same page. If there is a breakdown in communication, it can become very apparent. Some family members might want complete control over a loved one’s diet, so it is important to establish a rapport with them, in case you need to explain, for example, why it’s alright for the resident to enjoy a slice of cake on her 85th birthday.
Mental Exercise & Effects on Longevity
In an ever-increasing digital age where access to information and the demand for it seems limitless, you can’t spend much time online or watching TV without someone talking about fitness and physical exercise. It is woven into the shows we watch, the news we read in the social media that keeps us constantly plug-in. As much as society focuses on physical fitness and beauty, there is a relatively insignificant amounts of focus and capital that goes into communicating the importance of exercising the mind. While there are plenty of benefits that come with being able to access unlimited information on our screens in a matter of seconds, this constant barrage of words and imagery can lead us to complacency when it comes to exercising our brains.
Physical exercise is clearly important for health and happiness, though many of us don’t give it the attention it deserves, there’s plenty of modern scientific evidence to suggest that exercising the brain is just as critical to overall health.
From a physiological standpoint the brain is obviously one of the most important muscles in the body and just like the other muscles, it need be exercised in order to stay healthy. This is made all the more important for the elderly population. A person’s longevity is clearly related to the body’s health and physical fitness, but mental fitness can play an equally important role in helping to ensure an individual’s life is long and that the quality of life is optimal for us long as possible.
Regardless of what age someone is, anyone and everyone can begin a daily workout that exercises the brain to the benefit of their health and there is no better time to start than now. Scientists in all sorts of fields are learning more and more about the power and potential of the brain every day. Widely held conclusions from earlier research suggested that the brain’s capacity to grow and learn halted with age, but recent studies have shown that the brain is continually able to adapt and learn with the creation of new neural pathways.
Called, neuroplasticity, this phenomenon is defined as the capacity of neurons and neural networks in the brain to change their interconnectivity and behavior in response to new information, development, sensory stimulation, damage or dysfunction. This is an exciting new field of study that bears significance for everyone’s health, but especially for the health and longevity of seniors, who, for generations have been written off when it came to mental development and the ability to change.
This discovery has completely overhauled the way that scientists think about brain function and it gives new hope for the aging population, including those who face difficulties with brain damage and brain disease. For decades, scientists had believed that the ability of the brain to grow and learn was finite and hardwired into our DNA, however, with neuroplasticity we are finding ways to proactively reorganize and create new neural pathways. Research developments have been made that suggest that the healing of brain injuries is possible as well as the probability of brains to adapt and stay sharp well past the formative years.
All of these new developments are wonderful and have potential benefits for all people at any age, but the one caveat is that in order to fully take advantage of neuroplasticity, an individual must be proactive and practice using the brain in new ways. Fortunately, there is a near limitless amount of exercises that a person can do to engage their brain to develop new neural pathways.
Now that we know the critical role that mental exercise plays in strengthening our brains, just as the same physical workouts decrease their effectiveness to our bodies over time, the same monotonous set of challenges to the brain can become less and less effective. In other words, in order to keep our brains as healthy as possible, it is essential to continually introduce new and adaptive experiences to our mental workouts.
The beauty of mental exercise is that it generally doesn’t cost a thing, it doesn’t require a gym membership or pumping iron or working up a sweat, and can involve a myriad of possible exercises that can be done by anybody at virtually any time and place. So whether you want to exercise your own brain, or you own and operate a RAL home and you want to help your residents stay healthy and happy, getting to know the various methods for mental exercise can only be a benefit.
There are many enjoyable brain exercises and activities older adults can use to help keep their minds sharp and their hearts happy. Some of these activities include word games, music, arts and crafts, puzzles, aerobic movement, gardening and many more.
What used to be primarily associated with children, word games and brain teasers are now known to have wonderful benefits for boosting brain function in adults of all ages, as well. Over the past decade and with the ubiquity of mobile devices, activities like Sudoku, crosswords, word jumbles, puzzles and brainteasers have become readily available to everyone and can usually be obtained free of charge. These mental exercises are an easy way to improve word association and recall memory and brainteasers offer a fun and effective way to promote the benefits of neuroplasticity. And if you or your senior residents don’t have easy access to mobile devices or tablets, local newspapers and periodicals tend to have at least one, if not more of these brain exercises, and generally for a very low cost. If you’re RAL home as a community computer for the residents to use, there are literally hundreds of websites and apps that offer these games and activities for free.
If you and your residents would prefer non-digital options, activities like board games, jigsaw puzzles, card games, dominoes, checkers, chess and other similar games can all be incorporated into the daily mental exercise plan. The added benefit of choosing analog activities is that they usually involve problem-solving skills in combination with manual dexterity, and when these activities are used in rotation they help further stimulate the creation of new neural pathways. Whether young or old, people are creatures of habit, and most of us have our go to activities, which is especially common with seniors in assisted care facilities. But if, instead of going back to that same card game or puzzle every day, your senior residents had a plethora of options that they could rotate between, it would have more beneficial effect on their brain’s ability to adapt continue to grow. Another great advantage of these analog activities is that they provide plenty of opportunity for social interaction and developing interpersonal relationships. And unlike digital activities, which only require the participants to solve the mental puzzles, activities which require multiple individuals also create the opportunity for cooperation and relational problem-solving. These activities can also be great in preventing feelings of isolation or loneliness, which has a negative compounding effect on mental health.
Arts and crafts are also a great way for your residents to exercise their brains and it affords the opportunity for personal creativity as well. Being creative requires much more brainpower than simple rote learning exercises, so activities that have a more artistic focus can have a greater impact on mental sharpness. Drawing, painting, poetry, sculpture, knitting, scrapbooking and other similar activities all offer seniors the opportunity to flex their mental muscles while showcasing their creativity. Most of these activities can also be very communal as they encourage cooperation with others as well as the opportunity to give and receive feedback on artistic expression.
And who knows, by turning your residents on to artistry, it just might unlock something special in them that the world is waiting to see. While most professional artists usually experience their most productive and lucrative period in young to middle adulthood, there are many cases of great artists who took up their craft very late in life. Artistic activities have become popular in recent years as a form of therapy that uses the creative process as an instrument for healing. Creatively engaging with art has the benefit of stimulating many areas of the brain to enhance physical, emotional, cognitive and social capacity.
The process of creating art provides the opportunity for an individual to integrate their life experiences through objects and imagery, and often helps to foster feelings of support, safety and well-being. Art therapy has been known to show signs of significant reduction in anxiety and depression as well as provide a platform to boost the self-esteem of those who participate in it. As RAL owners, it would be well worth your time to look into organizations or businesses in your area that provide art therapy for seniors.
Music is another great way to stimulate the brain. I am sure that most of us have experienced music’s ability to provide comfort, bring back memories of the past and evoke a whole host of emotions that have caused us to ponder the big questions of life. Many of us have benefited from music therapy without even recognizing that it was therapy. More than just the cognitive benefits, music can also be a great mood changer or stabilizer and provide benefits that address the emotional issues of people of all ages.
Music therapy has been adopted by psychologists for years and it can be its especially effective when dealing with age-related issues like chronic pain, memory impairments, depression and general stress. Listening to comforting music has been found helpful to people dealing with stress and anxiety by slowing down the heart rate, creating a feeling of ease and reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In memory care treatments music therapy is used to slow the decline of speech skills found in dementia patients. There are some cases where music therapy was effective in inspiring nonverbal individuals to communicate with humming or singing.
Music therapy may also have the benefit of improving cognitive abilities in aging adults and recent studies have found that certain rhythmic music can stimulate particular areas of the brain to increase blood flow and improve performance in cognitive tests. I don’t know about you, but I can definitely relate to this. Certain music just seems to have the ability to engage your mind like nothing else can. I can’t even count how many times I got through 4 to 10 hour long study sessions in college with relative ease because I had specific albums on loop in my headphones. Good music can inspire and motivate you to push through difficulties and it can also help mundane activities come to life.
Another great benefit of music therapy is its ability to bring people together. Music is a language that overcomes all barriers of race, creed, religion, background and every other distinction found in society. Music helps unlikely individuals communicate and connect in ways that few other mediums can, which is especially beneficial in residential assisted living, helping alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation among seniors.
Music is a wonderful thing to experience as a passive listener, but it can be even more engaging on a cognitive level when you actively participate in its creation. As older adults find themselves with more time on their hands after retirement, it can be a great chance to try something new, like learning to play a musical instrument. Learning and playing an instrument offers endless opportunities to keep one’s mind engaged because there will never be a shortage of songs to learn or a limit to how an individual can express their creativity through the performance of each song. Playing an instrument, regardless of how simple or advanced, can provide a great sense of accomplishment, which helps in stimulating the brain’s reward system, increases the release of dopamine and triggers additional neural pathways in the brain.
Music therapy doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start by simply playing music for the seniors in your RAL home and offer them the opportunity to participate as they feel comfortable. Once they start engaging with the music, maybe you bring in some simple rhythm instruments, like egg shakers and tambourines, and encourage them to play along. As you begin to see them respond more to the music there is really no limit to ways you can inspire them to creatively immerse themselves in it. There are even companies that you can hire who will send music therapists to your residential assisted living home and work with your residents. But there are also plenty of organizations, community youth and religious groups that you can find locally to provide similar services free of charge.
Cooking and baking are another great way to help engage the minds and bodies of your assisted living residents. These culinary activities provide the opportunity to employ all five senses, each of which exercises different parts of brain. It also requires the planning of recipes, measuring and offers the chance to use one’s creativity.
Practicing the culinary arts can be a very socially stimulating thing, as food in the process of creating it tends to bring people together. For many people food is the vehicle that helps express their culture and provides a roadmap to showcase their family’s deep history and meaningful traditions. In all likelihood, your senior residents probably grew up in homes where cooking and food were common rituals that created strong family relationship bonds. Sharing family recipes and the history attached to them was just another way to pass down cultural traditions and family values.
Giving your residents the opportunity to be part of the cooking process can be very therapeutic, particularly for those who are living with dementia and other brain disorders. These experiences have been shown to relieve stress, reduce depression and improve physical function. Along with those benefits, participation in the kitchen has also been a help to stabilize the mood and behavior in seniors by allowing for more social interactions and normalized experiences to improve the overall living environment.
Cooking and baking provide the opportunity for productivity, a sense of purpose and an enhanced state of well-being. There are so many activities in the kitchen that can be accomplished by residents of varying degrees of physical mobility and mental capacity. Something as simple as setting the table for clearing away and helping to wash up after a meal could be an enjoyable activity for some seniors. Get residents involved by letting them mix batter, knead dough, roll out cookies, or ice and decorate cupcakes. Seniors with more mobility might find it relaxing to peel and chop vegetables or cut up fruit to help make nutritious smoothies. Assisting caregivers or cooks in the house might be something that many residents would really enjoy, but you may never know that if they aren’t given the opportunity to try.
When selecting flavors for various dishes, the myriad scents and tastes of herbs provide a great opportunity for exploration. These sensory experiences can be even more beneficial for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia, especially since for most seniors with conditions like these, the opportunity to participate in the kitchen is often very limited. Being able to cook and bake can also encourage seniors to feel more self-sufficient and less dependent on others around them. This helps to boost confidence and can dramatically improve a resident’s state of mind and quality of life.
While cooking and helping out in the kitchen might not be everyone’s cup of tea, another great activity that can stimulate the mind while exercising the body is gardening. Obviously, many seniors in assisted living homes may not have the strength and mobility to practice gardening like most, but their ways that you can make this wonderful activity more accessible to your residents. Raised planters at waist height filled with smaller plants like herbs can be a great way to help your residents spend some quality time outdoors while doing something productive that they can be proud of.
There are so many physiological benefits from being physically active and being outdoors. Gardening gives seniors a reason to spend time in the sun, a great source of vitamin D, and it also helps stimulate the brain by requiring focus and a plan as to how residents will create and tend the garden. Older adults, especially those in assisted living facilities, tend to spend a lot of time indoors, which can lead to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is such an important nutrient especially for the senior population, and recent studies have led scientists to conclude that vitamin D deficiency is quickly becoming a pandemic. One of the major factors causing vitamin D deficiency is the lack of appreciation that daily sun exposure in moderation is the major source of vitamin D for most people. Very few food sources naturally contain vitamin D and most foods that have been fortified with vitamin D often contain inadequate amounts that would not satisfy the body’s daily requirement.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information “Vitamin D deficiency precipitates and exacerbates osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious diseases.”  Studies have also shown that low levels of vitamin D can impair the neurological and cardiovascular systems, not to mention the impact taken person’s mood.
So whether indoors or outdoors, staying active helps the longevity of your residents. It increases the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body, and a healthy body leads to a healthy brain. And whatever exercises or activities you introduce to the seniors in your RAL home, be sure to start with low-impact activities and take it easy at the beginning.
Be Part of the Solution
Solving the problems of elderly nutrition in America is a daunting task that will require collaboration across sectors of government, business and private organizations. The AL Network and the RAL National Association have been founded to offer RAL owners a myriad of resources to, not only navigate the world of Residential Assisted Living, but also to equip them with the resources and training needed to offer superior care to seniors across the country.
We need to work together as a community to provide the necessary support for our seniors. There’s no reason that we can’t come together and pool the nation’s resources and the talents of those in the medical, organizational, governmental and assisted-living fields to address the needs of an aging America.
The Silver Tsunami of Seniors is coming; it cannot be avoided. The question is, how committed are we to addressing the needs of a growing senior population how much are we willing to help in order to help the elderly live healthier and happier lives.
And to Wrap It All Up…
The truth is there are a lot of challenges that we face as our bodies and minds grow older and just about every single one of us will end up interacting with the assisted living community in one way or another. Whether we encounter the likelihood that we need to find a home for our parents and grandparents or maybe one day we ourselves need a home that provides us care in our twilight years, assisted living is here to stay. With population growth outpacing previous predictions and lifespans extending the time people spend in their senior years, the need for quality assisted care in a safe and comfortable environment is only going to increase.
Nursing homes across the nation are not prepared for the growth that is on the horizon, and as plenty of evidence has shown, these big box facilities often aren’t the places that you would want to depend on to care for your loved ones. Residential Assisted Living it is the logical answer to this crisis and we hear at the Residential Assisted Living Academy we are proud to provide a roadmap to doing assisted living a better way. A better way to care for our seniors, with respect and dignity. A better way for you to invest your time and your capital. A better way to get out of the rat race and get into the industry that offers freedom and financial independence. A better way to secure your family’s future, all while helping others during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. This is why everything we do revolves around our motto “To Do Good and Do Well.” First to do good, then to do well.
Gene, the founder of this organization, has dedicated tens of thousands of hours to researching and developing strategies for investing in the senior living market. He has a passion for helping people just like you learn how to create, build, improve and excel in a residential assisted living business. He has surrounded himself with professionals in the fields of business investing, real estate and medicine to amass a treasure trove of information and strategies on how to succeed in the assisted living market. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of his hard work and learn the systems and methods that will improve your RAL homes and help you take the next step in this rewarding industry. We are here to help you so you can go out and help others.
How to Get Involved
Would you like to know how Residential Assisted Living holds the key to your future? There are number of ways you can begin to get involved in this amazing and rewarding industry. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity, come out to one of our monthly 3-Day Fast Track training courses and see why residential assisted living is an unmissable investment opportunity. This immersive 3-day training is for anyone who wants to get started, expand, invest in or help support the mission of providing high quality senior housing and care in a residential setting. These seminars are taught by leaders in the industry and owners and operators of numerous successful residential assisted living homes and businesses across the country. Come hear from industry professionals and learn how Residential Assisted Living is the answer to set you on the path to financial freedom and success.
The Convenient Home Study Course
Don’t have the time to set aside a weekend learning about the incredible opportunities in residential assisted living? We’ve got you covered. We offer a Home Study Course that will teach you what you need to know to hit the ground running in assisted living. Learn on your own time and at your own pace. Learn everything from strategies to find funding for your business to how to hire and train care staff, how to market your Residential Assisted Living home to the communities around you, and what not to do that will end up saving you thousands of dollars, and so much more. You will also have access to real-life case studies from students and associates who have taken the course and implemented it, creating countless positive cash flow success stories.
As valued members of our community we would like to continue to offer tips to help you find the residents that you are looking for to fill your RAL homes and create greater success in your business. You may already be familiar with some of these tips, so they might be a good reminder for you, or some of them may be new ideas that will help your business grow. Either way, we want to see you succeed.
The Silver Tsunami of seniors is hitting the shores now. These seniors will be depending on a robust network of care homes, care-givers, medical professionals and the investors to support this vibrant industry. Be one of the first to respond to the fastest growing demographic shift in the U.S. today.
Get Plugged in with the Residential Assisted Living National Association
Lastly, we can’t encourage you enough become member of the Residential Assistant Living National Association, which was formed to bring our industry together and to provide critical resources needed by every owner, operator or investor in Residential Assisted Living. Whether you are an owner, operator or an investor or just looking to learn all you can about the incredible opportunities in senior housing, the RAL National Association is the community for you. Get help from industry professionals and learn how Residential Assisted Living is the answer to set you on the path to financial freedom and success.
Some of the invaluable resources for our members include:
- Group purchasing power with access to over 200 companies
- Lobbying and legal support focused on the Fair Housing Act and Zoning
- National Marketing for your RAL home
- Continuing education for direct care staff
- Strengthening and supporting the RAL community
- Monthly newsletters addressing important issues facing RAL homes
- Private Facebook page, building support and community
- Access to business opportunities, investors, qualified operators and administrators
- And much, much more
For anyone who wants to get started, expand, invest in or help support the mission of providing high quality senior housing and care in a residential setting, the RAL National Association is a must for anyone serious about their financial future in assisted living.
And Don’t Forget to Sign Up for Our Helpful & Informative Webinar
In the U.S., 180,375 people every month turn 85 years old. Most of these people will need assistance with daily activities and the current crop of nursing homes and care facilities are ill-equipped to give them the help and dignity that they deserve. Along with every great need comes great opportunity.
The Residential Assisted Living Academy is here to help you take advantage of the opportunity in this relatively untapped market, while also helping the most vulnerable in our society.
Our experienced professionals will show you how to start a Residential Assisted Living business that can create substantial, recurrent cash flow. Check out our Assisted Living Business Accelerator course and learn how you can convert a residential home into one for assisted housing and senior living,
while creating a stable business and income stream for life!
Along with the critical training you will receive, we will also include invaluable bonuses absolutely free. Bonuses like, 6 months of live support and group Q&A calls, handled by leading experts in the field, they will help answer all of your questions and guide through all of the important topics in the assisted living space.
These bonuses are available for a limited time. Don’t miss out on this amazing offer. Take your first steps toward financial freedom today.
If you liked this resource and are interested in finding out more, check out our YouTube channel, filled with tons of content to answer all your questions and help you navigate the exciting opportunities in Residential Assisted Living.
 (The “An Aging World: 2015” report was prepared by Wan He, Ph.D., and Daniel Goodkind. Ph.D., of the International Programs Center in the Population Division of the Census Bureau, and Paul Kowal, Ph.D., of the World Health Organization’s Study on Global Aging and Adult Health. Research for and production of the report were supported under an interagency agreement with NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research.)
The National Institute on Aging: The NIA leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute’s broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, aging, and health, go to www.nia.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visitwww.nih.gov.